Was McDyess’s tip-in goaltending?

Check out Antonio McDyess’s tip-in at the buzzer to beat the Lakers last night at Staples Center.

Was it goaltending? Lakers fans think so, but a quick read of the NBA’s goaltending rules leads me to believe that it wasn’t:

Section I-A Player Shall Not:
a. Touch the ball or the basket ring when the ball is using the basket ring as its lower base.
EXCEPTION: If a player near his own basket has his hand legally in contact with the ball, it is not a violation if his contact with the ball continues after the ball enters the cylinder, or if, in such action, he touches the basket.
b. Touch the ball when it is above the basket ring and within the imaginary cylinder.
c. For goaltending to occur, the ball, in the judgment of the official, must have a chance to score.

The view from the side shows that the ball was coming off, but I think it was still in the imaginary cylinder when McDyess’s hand touched it. However, as part “c.” states, if the official did not think it had a chance to score (which it didn’t), then it cannot be goaltending. This appears to supersede the fact that the ball may have been in the cylinder.

Spurs win.

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What happened to the Spurs?

With the Mavericks’ 106-93 Game 5 win in San Antonio, it is the first time that Tim Duncan has lost a first round series. Tony Parker shot 55% from the field, and averaged 28.6 points, 6.8 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game. Battling sore knees, Duncan still shot 53% from the field, averaging 19.8 points and 8.0 rebounds. Normally, those kinds of numbers from the Spurs’ top two players would result in a series win. What happened?

1. No supporting cast.
Manu Ginobili was out. Duh. But the rest of the Spurs failed to step up in his absence. Parker and Duncan combined to shoot 100 of 185 (54%) in the series, which means everyone not named Tim or Tony combined to make just 75 of their 198 attempts (38%). Roger Mason shot 42% from long range during the season, but made just 37% in the series. The midseason addition of Drew Gooden was a bust; he averaged just 7.3 points and 3.8 rebounds, and shot 33% from the field. Without Ginobili, there wasn’t a third scorer to take the pressure off of Parker and Duncan.

2. Mediocre defense.
The Mavs averaged 96.4 points per game, shot better than 46% from the field and better than 38% from long range during the series. Now those numbers are by no means eye-popping, but they are very un-Spurs-like. San Antonio just couldn’t get the consistent stops it needed to make up for its overall lack of scoring. Josh Howard and Dirk Nowitzki were both stellar, while J.J. Barea and Brandon Bass played great off the bench when Dallas needed it.

The Spurs head into the summer with zero cap space, but with the fiscal state of the league, they’ll have a good opportunity to add a quality player at the mid-level exception, assuming they want to spend the money. My guess is that they will, given that Tim Duncan’s championship window continues to get smaller and smaller. The team is fine in the backcourt, with Parker, Ginobili, Mason and George Hill. They need help on the wing and in the frontcourt, so the priority will likely be a big man. Rasheed Wallace’s name has been floated, but Zaza Pachulia, Anderson Varejao, Brandon Bass, Chris Andersen and Antonio McDyess are cheaper options.

2008 NBA Preview: #9 Detroit Pistons

Offseason Movement: The Pistons’ biggest offseason signing was Kwame Brown. That’s right…Kwame Brown.
Keep Your Eye On: The Pistons’ age
Chauncey Billups (32), Rip Hamilton (30), Rasheed Wallace (34) and Antonio McDyess (34) are all at the end of or past their respective primes, so the Pistons are going to hit the wall, it’s just a matter of when. Will it be this season? The team does have some youth in Tayshaun Prince (28), Rodney Stuckey (22), Jason Maxiell (25) and Amir Johnson (21), but Prince is the only completely dependable player on that list. Stuckey has a chance to be a star, but he’s going to be playing behind Billups and Hamilton for the foreseeable future.
The Big Question: Does this group have another run in it?
After last season, it looked like the Pistons were going to make some big changes, but after a few rumored trades fell through, they’re left with pretty much the same roster as last season. So this leaves the Pistons in a tough spot. They’re good enough to (easily) make the playoffs, but are they good enough to make another Finals appearance?
Outlook: Fruitless. Unless everything breaks their way, it’s hard to see the Pistons making the Finals with this group. I like the roster, and when they’re firing on all cylinders, they’re very tough to beat. But they are at times complacent, and they’re just not good enough anymore to be giving games away in the playoffs. They almost lost to an upstart Philly team due to a lack of focus. Once again, they’ll make the playoffs and, once again, they’ll probably win their first round series, but barring a big leap by one of their young players, that’s probably as far as they’ll go.

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